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APHLIS - Postharvest cereal losses in Sub-Saharan Africa, their estimation, assessment and reduction

APHLIS - Postharvest cereal losses in Sub-Saharan Africa, their estimation, assessment and reduction

Hodges, Richard, Bernard, Marc and Rembold, Felix (2014) APHLIS - Postharvest cereal losses in Sub-Saharan Africa, their estimation, assessment and reduction. Technical Report. European Union, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. (doi:

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APHLIS provides estimates of the postharvest weight losses (PHLs) of cereal grains for Sub-Saharan Africa. These loss estimates support agricultural policy formulation, identification of opportunities to improve value chains, improvement in food security (by improving the accuracy of cereal supply estimates), andmonitoring of loss reduction activities.

APHLIS is based on a network of local experts (see Annex 1). Each country supplies and quality controls its own data that are stored in an exclusive area of a shared database. The APHLIS website displays the loss estimates as maps and tables. The APHLIS Network members also have the opportunity to post a ‘Country Narrative’ that gives a commentary on these postharvest losses in the context of the postharvest systems and projects of their countries.

The loss estimates are generated by an algorithm (the PHL Calculator) that works on two data sets, the postharvest loss (PHL) profiles and the seasonal data. Each PHL profile is itself a set of figures, one for each link in the postharvest chain. These figures are derived from a very detailed search of the scientific literature followed by screening for suitability. They remain more or less constant between years. The seasonal data are contributed by the APHLIS Network and address several factors that are taken into account in the loss calculation. They may vary significantly from season to season and year to year.

APHLIS estimates are not intended to be ‘statistics’ although they are computed using the best available evidence; they give an understanding of the scale of postharvest losses using a ‘transparent’ method of calculation. The estimates are assigned by primary administative unit (province) and may be aggregated to country or to region. Provinces are usually large geographical units and may include several agro-climatic zones, consequently the loss figures are generalisations, i.e. may be at variance from those experienced in particular situations. APHLIS recognises this limitation and offers a downloadable PHL Calculator that enables practitioners to change the default values to those that are specific to the situation of interest and to obtain loss estimates at a chosen geographical scale. The PHL Calculator can also be used with hypothetical data inorder to model ‘what if’ scenarios.

APHLIS offers a robust system for the estimation of PHLs, is transparent in operation and can capture improvements in loss estimation over time by the accumulation of new and more accurate data. It encourages the collection of new data and offers advice on modern approaches to loss asssessment. For the future, APHLIS is envisaged as a much broader communcition hub that informs, motivates and coordinates efforts to optimise postharvest mangement.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Additional Information: © European Union, 2014 ISBN 978-92-79-43852-3 (PDF)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Postharvest losses, Cereals, Loss assessment, Loss reduction, Loss estimation, APHLIS
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Food & Markets Department
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2016 14:17

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